NOT THE SAME GOD
List of contents:
- The oneness of God
- God is love
- Temperament and Mercy
- The relational God
- God and sinners
- Moral standards
- Contradictory moral standards
- The moral development of humanity
- The creator of evil?
- Additional problems of Islamic monotheism
- Anarchy, and lack of definition
- Not the same God
- The true living God
- Selected Bibliography
Inspirationals from the Holy Bible:
“You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20: 3); “There shall be no foreign god among you. Nor shall you worship any foreign god” (Psalm 81: 9); “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god” (Psalm 16: 4a); “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget. Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49: 15-16); “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3: 36); “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 John 5: 10).
The Torah was given to the prophet Moses in the fifteenth century B.C. This means Judaism preceded Islam by more than twenty centuries. Christianity preceded Islam by about six centuries. Both Biblical Judaism and Christianity believe in the same God. The New Godly Covenant of Christianity fulfills and supersedes the Old Covenant of Judaism. Christianity completes and seals the divine revelations of the Biblical God.
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, claims in his Qur’an that the Islamic god is the same Biblical God “… Our god and your God is one…” (al-‘ankabut 29: 46; al-Baqarah 2: 139). The following analysis examines the bases of that claim. Do the established evidence and facts support it, or refute it?
The Arabic word of “Allah” is derived linguistically by a contraction of the Arabic word “al-Ilah” which means “the god.” It is found in archeological and literary remains of pre-Islamic Arabia. Pagan Arabs of pre-Islamic times acknowledged and recognized a supreme deity called “Allah” (al-‘Ankabut 29: 61-63; Luqman 31: 25). It was the chief god of their pantheon of 360 gods represented by 360 idols in the Kaaba of Mecca. “Allah” was their chief deity and main worship. It was their high god. Pagan Arabs believed that their god “Allah” was the creator of the world, the god of the heavens, the weather and the waters (al-‘Ankabut 29: 61-66; az-Zumar 39: 38). Their other gods were only intermediaries and intercessors whom they appealed to for the purpose of bringing them close to “Allah” (az-Zumar 39: 3; Yunis 10: 18; Al Imran 3: 80; al-An’am 6: 148). Centuries before Muhammad’s time, the Arabian Kaaba, which was rebuilt many times, was called the house of god “beit Allah.” In fact, Muhammad’s own father bore the name “Abd Allah,” which means “the slave of god.”
“There is no corroborative evidence whatsoever for the Qur’an’s claim that the Kaaba was initially a house of monotheistic worship. Instead, there certainly is evidence as far back as history can trace the origins and worship of the Kaaba that it was thoroughly pagan and idolatrous in content and emphasis” (J. Gilchrist, The Temple, The Kaaba, and the Christ, p. 16). The concept of a high god above the pantheon of lesser gods had existed in many ancient Middle Eastern pagan religions. The high god was thought to rule over the pantheon of lesser gods. Similar to the Islamic god, the high god of the pagans was aloof, disinterested in the affairs of humanity, impersonal, unknowable, and inaccessible to man. This is a form of paganism, which is very different from the common form of paganism. Some western scholars think that Muhammad did not introduce an altogether novel god to the Arabs of his day. He merely rid the heathen Meccan high god of his lesser companions, and defined him in a somewhat clearer manner (al-Nisa’ 4: 125; al-‘Ankabut 29: 61-63; Luqman 31: 25).
In ancient times people used to worship all kinds of idols, real and imagined, call them gods, and ascribe falsely great powers to them. This did not make any of them equal to the true living almighty God. A name does not define the person. What defines a person are his essential attributes, not his name. Many persons have identical names, but they are different persons. Each of them has different attributes—different physical, mental and emotional characteristics, and different educational, professional, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Their different attributes are the only way to distinguish them apart. To reject and deny one essential attribute is to reject the person and to talk about another person.
To say that the Qur’an and the Holy Bible proclaim the same God because they use the same generic word for God and call him the God of Abraham is like saying that all references to the name “David” refer to the same person!
The almighty invisible God is defined by his essential attributes. The essential attributes of God are so interrelated that one cannot be rejected or changed without rejecting or modifying the others.
This article explores and compares a number of major essential attributes and features of the Biblical God and the Islamic god, and briefly discusses some major problems of Islamic absolute monotheism.
II. THE ONENESS OF GOD
A fundamental aspect of Islam is the doctrine of “tawheed,” which emphasizes the oneness of the god of Islam: “Allah is one, the eternal god” (al-Ikhlas 112: 1-2). This implies god’s absolute unity. In fact, the greatest of all sins in Islam is the sin of shirk, which is assigning partners to the Islamic god: “Allah pardons not that partners should be ascribed unto him. He pardons all save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribes partners unto Allah has wandered far astray” (an-Nisa’ 4: 116, 48).
Muhammad was not the first one to call for worshiping one god outside the Biblical tradition. Some ancient pagan cultures worshipped a man-made unipersonal god similar to the unipersonal god of Muhammad. The pharaoh Akhenaten (Ikhnaton), who reigned in Egypt in the 14th century B.C., more than 19 centuries before Muhammad, proclaimed a unipersonal god and prohibited the worship of any other god in ancient Egypt. He called him Aton and represented him with the sun-disk. Islam used the crescent moon as its symbol. Musailama and Sijah, Arabs contemporaries of Muhammad, claimed prophecy and proclaimed monotheism. They had followers. However, unlike Muhammad, none of them resorted to violence in order to expand their religion.
Islamic monotheism is so rigid and inflexible that it does not allow similarities between it and the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is a fundamental core doctrine of the Christian faith. It safeguards the unity of the one true triune God.
There are fundamental problems and inconsistencies in the Islamic teaching of absolute rigid monotheism. The Islamic god is an isolated lonesome singularity. However, Islam makes distinctions within the unity of its god. One glaring distinction is the Sunni Islamic belief that the Qur’an is the eternal speech or word of the Islamic god. It is uncreated and had existed with him form all eternity: “This is a glorious Qur'an, in a tablet preserved” (al-Buruj 85: 21-22). Islam views the attributes of its god as part of his essence. If speech is an eternal attribute of the Islamic god that is distinguishable from him in the form of the Qur’an, the Islamic teaching of rigid monotheism is rendered invalid, because it allows that something uncreated (the Qur’an) distinct from the Islamic god to exist eternally with him resulting in two divinities.
Locating the source of all revelations (the tablet) in the essence of the Islamic god allows for the kind of plurality within unity that the Christian faith proclaims. And it seems to parallel the Christian doctrine that Christ is the eternal distinct uncreated Word of God, without being the same person of God the Father in the Godhead. They are of the same undivided essence, but distinct in person. The Qur’an corresponds to the earthly manifestation of the Word (Son) of God in Christ. In fact, the divinity of Christ is one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity destroys the fundamental basis of Islam—the eternality of the Qur’an.
Although the first part of the Islamic creed and the Qur’an (Al-‘Imran 3: 18; al-An’am 6: 162, 163; an-Nahl 16: 2; Ta Ha 20:14; al-Anbiya’ 21: 25) testify that there is no god but god, the second part of the creed and the Qur’an (al-Baqarah 2: 32; Al-‘Imran 3: 31-32, 50, 132; an-Nisa’ 4: 13-14, 80, 136; al-Anfal 8: 1, 41; al-Tawbah 9: 29; an-Nur 24: 56, 62; al-Ahzab 33: 36, 57) deliberately conjoin Muhammad’s name with the Islamic god’s making Muhammad a partner and associate with the Islamic god. To make matters even worse, certain Qur’anic expositors (al-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, etc.) insist that al-Isra’ 17: 79 refers to the last day when the god of Islam will seat Muhammad on his very own eternal throne. This amounts to polytheism (shirk) which the Qur’an prohibits (Al-‘Imran 3: 151; an-Nisa’ 4: 48, 116; ar-Rum 30: 40).
Muhammad made himself the associate and partner of the Islamic god in order to get people to obey him blindly. In so doing, he had taken the place of idols worshiped by the pagan Arabs. Muhammad’s insistence that his followers submit to him in the same way they submit to the Islamic god, turned them into idolaters, and made them commit the unforgivable sin of shirk. He replaced the paganism of the Meccans by himself by turning himself into the partner and associate of the god of Islam. That makes Islam polytheistic at its very core.
In fact, the Islamic god went out of his way to please Muhammad (al-Baqarah 2: 143, 144; al-Ahzab 33: 37, 50, 51; ad-Duha 93: 5). His youngest wife Aisha noticed it and remarked saying: “… I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires” (Bukhari 6.60.311; Muslim 8.3453, 3454). The spoils of war, in fact the entire earth, belonged to the god of Islam and to Muhammad (al-Anfal 8: 1; al-Hashr 59: 7; Bukhari 9.85.77; 4.53.392; etc.). While Muhammad condemned Jews and Christians for blindly obeying their rabbis and monks (al-Tawbah 9: 30-31), he had no difficulty demanding the same blind unconditional obedience from Muslims that they submit to him in the same way they submit to god, thereby making himself equal to the Islamic god in position and authority. Many Qur’anic verses equate obedience to the god of Islam with obedience to Muhammad, and promise reward and punishment accordingly (al-Baqarah 2: 32; Al-‘Imran 3: 31, 32, 50, 132; an-Nisa’ 4: 13, 14, 59, 65, 80, 136; al-Ma’idah 5: 92; al-Anfal 8: 1, 20, 24; al-Tawbah 9: 29; an-Nur 24: 52, 54, 56, 62, 63; al-Furqan 25: 55, 56; al-Ahzab 33: 36, 71; az-Zukhruf 43: 63; Muhammad 47: 33; al-Fath 48: 10; al-Hujurat 49: 14; al-Hashr 59: 6, 7; Bukhari 4.53.392; 9.89.251; 9.92.384; etc.).
By constructing Islamic law (Sharia—the law of the Islamic god) directly from the life of Muhammad, a man with huge moral failings and character flaws, Islam is guilty of the abomination of placing one man, Muhammad, above the Islamic god. This enslaves Muslims to the image of Muhammad. Sharia crystalizes the worshipful veneration of the man Muhammad so much so that the tiniest details of his personal habits are imitated. This prevents the natural diversity in Islamic societies, and freezes its moral development to that of seventh century Arabia.
In contrast with that, the Holy Bible does not require any one to blindly obey rabbis, monks, etc (Acts 5: 29).
In fact, al-Fath 48: 9 asks Muslims to revere and glorify Muhammad. Reverence and glorification are reserved to God alone. Muhammad is the center of the Islamic prayer, which is reserved for God alone (al-Ahzab 33: 56). The worship which Muslims have given Muhammad is expressed by some of them through extreme perverted practices, such as drinking his urine and blood, and smearing his spittle and water of ablution on themselves (Bukhari 3.50.891; 5.59.617; 1.4.187, 188). By drinking his blood, they violated the commands of the Qur’an (al-Baqarah 2: 173; al-Ma’idah 5: 3; al-An’am 6: 145; an-Nahl 16: 115), and the Holy Bible (Leviticus 17: 10-14; Acts 15: 28, 29). Muhammad should have prevented them from doing that. He did not. Was he after the vane glory of this earth?
The Qur’an ascribes divine attributes to Muhammad by claiming that he hears and sees the deeds of human beings (at-Tawbah 9: 94, 105; al-Hujurat 49: 7). Only God is omnipresent and omniscient. Despite the Qur’an’s presentation of Muhammad as a fallible mortal sinner (al-A’raf 7: 188; al-Isra’ 17: 93; al-Kahf 18: 110; al-Ankabut 29: 50, 51; Saba’ 34: 50; al-Ahqaf 46: 9), it also elevates him to a level of power and authority comparable with that of the Islamic god (al-Munafiqun 63: 8; etc.). This is a polytheistic concept. A number of Muslim scholars (Jaafar bin Muhammad, as-Samarqandi, as-Suyuti, G. F. Haddad, etc.) acknowledge that both the Qur’an and the Hadith do in fact ascribe many of the beautiful names of the Islamic god to Muhammad (Bukhari 9.87.125; Muslim 4.1225; 29.5637).
If the Qur’an is the speech of the Islamic god as Islam claims, then the Islamic god loves nothing more than to praise himself (al-An’am 6: 1; an-Nahl 16: 75; al-Isra’ 17: 1; al-Hashr 59: 23; etc.). The Hadith confirms this tendency and practice (Bukhari 6.60.158, 161; Muslim 37.6647, 6648; 4.986). Self-praise may be the result of either excessive pride (the mortal sin of Satan), or low self-esteem that compels the person to seek something reassuring from sources outside his being. The Islamic god needs the praise and worship of his creatures (al-Dhariyat 51: 56). This is a serious imperfection in him, because he needs something from sources outside himself.
Islam teaches that its god is Unitarian. He is a non-personal deity, transcendent and impersonal in his dealings with man. When the Qur’an describes him as being “… nearer to him (man) than his jugular vein” (Qaf 50: 16), it refers to his omnipotence, not to his personal care and concern for man.
The Biblical God is a Trinitarian God. He is one God of one substance and one power. He is tripersonal: The Father, His eternal Word (The Son: Jesus Christ), and His Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is ONE indivisible God who exists in three distinct inseparable persons. He is NOT three separate gods united in one (tritheism). The one triune God is self-sufficient, and does not need anything outside his divine being. It is important to emphasize the fact that a unipersonal god is an incomplete entity. He is an eternally lone person confined within his own being with no other to love and communicate. He exists in eternal vacuum. He cannot experience the fullness of the exceedingly rich communion, and love experienced within the Holy Trinity of the triune God. He does not understand, and is incapable of, love because he does not experience it within his being. Therefore a unipersonal god cannot experience the fullness of existence. Since the almighty God of the universe is perfect in every way, he is self-sufficient, not needing his creation to experience loving communion with it. Creation does not add anything to the being of God. The sovereign God did not create the world to satisfy an essential need he had. The Holy Trinity has no need for another where it pours out its exceeding divine love, since the other is already in the Holy Trinity. The eternally self-sufficient triune God is not dependent on any non-divine reality outside himself. Therefore, the true living God of the universe could not be a unipersonal god.
The interpersonal attributes of the Biblical God (e.g. love, communication, empathy, self-giving, etc.) have been expressed from all eternity within the relationship among the three persons of the Holy Trinity. On the other hand, the unipersonal god is dependent on his creation to express these attributes. This means that he is a changing contingent being. He is mutable, because his creation did not exist in eternity’s past, and he is dependent on something outside his being in order to grow into his self-realization. He is not the absolute immutable transcendent God. He is not the true God, but just a supreme figure!
Another imperfection in the unipersonal god is that he lacks the means of close intimate communion with his creation. This communion could not be provided by an angelic messenger sent by God, because this type of messenger is a localized limited creature that could only communicate externally to one person at a time. In addition, an angelic messenger could not communicate with the human heart in order to effect internal divine illumination. The uncreated eternal Holy Spirit of the living triune God is unlimited and unlocalized (Psalm 139: 7-12; Jeremiah 23: 24; Acts 17: 28). He communicates the divine light of God into the inmost recesses of the human hearts of many Christian persons at the same time. The triune God dwells in Christian believers by his Holy Spirit, the third person in the Holy Trinity. He is a God great enough to rule the universe, caring enough to live a full human life in Christ Jesus, and intimate enough to live in each Christian believer.
The Islamic doctrine of the unipersonal god does not provide theological basis for human community, because the Islamic god is not relational. He had existed alone before creation in total isolation and solitude. He does not exist in a divine community. A unipersonal god could not create beings who desire community. Contrasting that position, Christianity teaches that the Holy Trinity is a relational eternal divine community of absolute unity. Therefore, humankind, as a reflection of the God of the holy Bible, is relational and desires community. What God does reflects who he is.
The Islamic god is impersonal, unreachable, and not relational. Therefore, he is incapable of revealing himself. The Biblical God desires fellowship with his creation. He is relational. Therefore, he can and does reveal himself. While illustrations of the unity of the Holy Trinity pervade the created natural order, one fails to find any object of the undifferentiated unity that Islam claims to its god?
It is obvious from this discussion that the Islamic doctrine of the unipersonal god is contradictory and inferior to the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Bible states that: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2: 22-23; Galatians 1: 8).
III. GOD IS LOVE
Ontologically, the God of the holy Bible is a being of absolute perfect divine love. Therefore, he necessarily requires an object of his love. Love demands plurality within the unity of the one undivided divine essence of the Godhead. This is accomplished by the three divine Persons in the Godhead—a lover, the one being loved, and the power or spirit of love. The human desire for love reflects this eternal divine reality.
Holiness and love are among the chief central essential attributes of the Biblical God. God is love, not only in his outward acts, but also in his divine fellowship of his own tripersonal eternal life of self-giving. Jesus said: “Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which You have given me; for You loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 24). The Holy Bible teaches that “. . . God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4: 7-12, 16); “Because your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you” (Psalm 63: 3; 36: 5-7; 103: 8-12; 118: 29; Jeremiah 31: 3). God loves humanity unconditionally: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16); “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8; 8: 32). God’s love is not conditional, and not in response to the condition of the person. The atonement that Christ offered on the cross to redeem humanity from the bondage of sin and decay is an expression of the intra-Trinitarian divine love that has eternally existed in the heart of God. Christ said: “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love” (John 15: 9).
The love of the Biblical God is to be reflected in the life of Christians. Christ instructed saying: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 35). “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13: 13).
The Biblical God extends a special covenant of loving fellowship to his redeemed children. The prophet Moses declared to the Israelites saying: “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7: 9; 2 Chronicles 6: 14). Other prophets emphasized God’s love covenant “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments” (Daniel 9: 4; Nehemiah 1: 5). God’s love covenant with his children who have accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross is eternally sealed by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Christ stated in the last supper: “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26: 28). The cross is central in understanding the loving character of the Biblical God who chose to be moved only by the same interpenetrating divine love that he, the one God, had forever shared as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the oneness of the holy Trinity.
“The concept of love as one of God’s essential attributes is conspicuously missing from Islam, because in Islamic thought love is a sign of weakness” (M. Youssef, America, Oil, and the Islamic mind, p. 82). Islam describes a god that seems to have no heart. Contrary to the Christian position, Muhammad objects to the love covenant of Christ saying in al-Ma’idah 5: 18: “the Jews and the Christians say, "We are God's children, and His beloved ones." Say: "Why, then, does He cause you to suffer for your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creating. He forgives whom He wills, and He causes to suffer whom He wills: for God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and with Him is all journeys' end.”
Professor Daud Rahbar, a modern Muslim scholar wrote: “Unqualified divine love for mankind is an idea completely alien to the Qur’an. In fact, `to love` is a phrase too strong to convey the idea of ahabba which can be rendered equally well as to like or to approve…. Even if we adopt the translation `loves` for yuhibbu when it is used with God as the subject, nowhere we find the idea that God loves mankind. God’s love is conditional” (Daud Rahbar, God of Justice, Leiden E. J. Brill, 1960, p. 172). Love “al-muhibb” is not one of the ninety nine most beautiful names of the god of Islam. The word “al-wadud” occurs only twice in the Qur’an (Hud 11: 90; al-Buruj 85: 14) in the context of mercy and forgiveness. The Qur'an fails to point to the god of Islam as the Savior of fallen humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Islamic god’s love is conditional and accidental. It is conditioned upon a faithful response to his revelation. According to the Qur’an, the Islamic god only loves the righteous (Al-‘Imran 3: 159), the godly (Al-‘Imran 3: 76), the repentant (al-Baqarah 2: 222), the just (al-Ma’idah 5: 42), the good-doer (Al-‘Imran 3: 148; Maryam 19: 96), and those who fight for him in Islamic jihad (al-Saff 61: 4). But the Islamic god does not love the wicked (Al-‘Imran 3: 57), the wasteful (al-An’am 6: 141), the proud (an-Nahl 16: 23), the transgressor (al-Ma’idah 5: 87), the infidels (Al-‘Imran 3: 32; ar-Rum 30: 45), and the ungodly (al-Qasas 28: 77). Love is something he does. It is not what his nature is (Maryam 19: 96; al-Buruj 85: 14). It is a love that condescends in beneficence, not a love that shares in a relationship. The god of Islam does not satisfy the thirst and longing of the human soul for divine love, forgiveness and the assurance of salvation.
The god of Islam has no basis for forgiveness because he does not provide atonement for forgiveness of sins. He is arbitrary in granting forgiveness (al-Ma’idah 5: 18). The god of Islam condones, instructs and urges Muslims to pursue massive destruction and murder of human life (fight and slay the unbelievers). These instructions are provided in the Qur’an (al-Baqarah 2: 193, 216, 244; al-Ma’idah 5: 33; al-Anfal 8: 12-17, 39, 59-60, 65; al-Tawbah 9: 5, 12, 14, 20, 29-30, 36, 39, 41, 73, 81, 86, 88, 111, 123; al-Fath 48: 16; etc) and in the life and example of Muhammad, and attested in Islamic history. In fact, the history of Islam from its beginning in the seventh century could be characterized as a river of blood. This is a major theme in Islam.
On the contrary, the Biblical God calls upon the followers of Christ to live in peace and pursue peace: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12: 18-19; 2 Timothy 2: 22).
IV. TEMPERAMENT AND MERCY
The following two incidents illustrate the dramatic difference between the loving merciful Biblical God and the vengeful vindictive Islamic god.
1. A woman confessed her adultery to Muhammad. She was penitent and asked for purification. Muhammad gave her the chance to give birth to the child, and nurse him. After she weaned him, he ordered her stoned to death. She was buried in a ditch up to her chest, and they stoned her to death (Muslim: 17.4206).
2. Jewish religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They asked him whether they should stone her to death as the law of Moses required. “… Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life”” (John 8: 6-12; 4: 1-26; Luke 7: 36-50). In addition, Jesus forgave a remorseful penitent prostitute who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair (Luke 7: 48-50).
In forgiving the penitent adulteress and prostitute, Jesus projected the exceeding love and mercy of the true living Biblical God. He wanted them to have a new life and a new beginning free from sin. He is the light of life. Contrasting that, in commanding the stoning of the penitent adulteress, Muhammad projected the condemnation and vengeance of the Islamic god, which lead to nowhere but desperation and death.
Although the Qur’an proclaims that the Islamic god is merciful and compassionate (al-Fatihah 1: 3; al-Baqarah 2: 173, 182, 192, 199, 218; al-An’am 6: 12, 54; al-A’raf 7: 156; Yusuf 12: 64; al-Mu’min 40: 30 etc.), little of those traits show in the life of Muhammad and in the harsh edicts and condemnations of the Qur’an and Hadith. In fact, the harsh punishments of Islamic law (Sharia) attest to the cruelty and mercilessness of the Islamic god (e.g. killing Muslim apostates; killing the critics of Muhammad, Qur’an and Sharia; stoning adulterers to death; executing homosexuals; sanctioning torture; amputating limbs; wife abuse (beating, rape, etc.); oppression of women and non-Muslims; flogging alcoholics and gamblers; etc.).
The Biblical God declared his love and mercy to the prophet Moses on Mount Sinai about fourteen centuries before Christ: “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34: 6-7a). The Lord declared through the prophet Isaiah: “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you. Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed. Says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54: 10). Christ prayed for the forgiveness of those who crucified him (Luke 23: 34). The loving merciful character of the Biblical God that has been manifested in his eternal Son Jesus Christ (James 5: 11) is the antithesis of the character of the Islamic god.
V. THE RELATIONAL GOD
The Islamic god’s relationship with man is a master-slave relationship. He is never referred to as Father. He is so distant and abstract that the concept of intimate personal relationship and fellowship between him and man does not exist in the Qur’an or in orthodox Islamic theology.
Islamic Sufism is the exception to this rule. It provides the spiritually sensitive Muslim with a retreat from the legalism of Islam and its rituals. Sufism, heavily influenced by Christian monasticism, emphasizes a personal relationship with the god of Islam. Historically, it had a significant role in the spread of Islam. Although some traditional Islamic scholars (e.g. al-Ghazali) recognize the validity of Sufism as part of Islam, much of Sufi teachings contradict the fundamental doctrines of orthodox Islam. For instance, the Sufi idea about god is that he is in all things and all things are in him (Hindu pantheism). All creatures are not distinct from him. This is a heretical pantheistic concept of God. Another heretical Sufi belief is that man can become as divine as God by absorption into the being of God, which is called fanna’ (annihilation—Buddhist nihilism). Some Sufi groups consider themselves above Islamic law (Sharia). To this day, the conflict between Islamic orthodoxy and mysticism has not been resolved. This leads to numerous violent confrontations between their adherents.
The god of Islam is an impersonal god. He does not experience divine relationship within his solo being. Man does not fellowship with him. He is not a loving father. He is not a father’s image. Muslims are trapped in bondage to the oppressive tyrannical god of Islam. He does not interact with his creation, and does not get involved in human affairs. He is glorified chiefly in his detachment from his creatures.
Islam seeks to force superficial external changes and appearances on man in order to bring about inner changes. Such external enforcement of religious rules and laws (ritualistic prayers, ablution, Ramadan fast, pilgrimage, etc.) is incapable of changing man’s inner spirit and heart. Therefore, it does not lead to his eternal salvation.
Christianity seeks to do the opposite—start with changing the inner man. The Biblical God is a living interacting presence. He cannot be reduced to a non-personal universal force or energy. He is a personal intensely relational highly interactive God. He guides, consoles, loves, forgives and cares. All are invited to enter into a personal relationship with him as his adopted sons and daughters through a saving faith in Christ Jesus “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 26). This is a spiritual, not physical, sonship. The human nature is sanctified through this relationship. However, it remains a created human nature. It will never change to God’s uncreated divine nature. This is consistent with the eternal lordship of the Almighty God (Psalm 9: 7-8; Revelation 4: 11).
The relationship between the Biblical God and the Christian believers is an intimate Father-child relationship: “You are the children of the LORD your God. . .” (Deuteronomy 14: 1); “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6: 18; John 1: 12, 13); “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”. . .” (Romans 8: 15-17; 9: 26); “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3: 1); “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4: 7; 3: 26; Jeremiah 31: 9; Matthew 6: 9; John 8: 34-36). God is not just the Lord to be obeyed, but also the loving Father to be loved. He expects his adopted children to respond to his love and to love each other. He sanctifies the true followers of Christ, and raises them up to a high spiritual level through his fatherly relationship with them.
Jesus refers to the Christian in such intimate relationships as “friend” (John 15: 14-15), “brother” (Matthew 12: 50), “sons of God” (Luke 20: 36), “sons of light” (John 12: 36), and “sons of the Most High” (Luke 6: 35).
As any loving father does, the living loving Biblical God disciplines his children to correct and improve them: “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3: 12; Psalms 119: 67-71); “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” (Hebrews 12: 7; 2 Samuel 7: 14). Christ said: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3: 19).
The caring loving heavenly Father imparts his Holy Spirit to dwell in Christians and sanctify them: “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6: 19). By receiving the Holy Spirit of the living God, man is empowered to live a holy life as he is transformed spiritually from within: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come . . .” (John 16: 13-15; 14: 15-17; 15: 5-6).
This indwelling of God’s presence through his Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, in the Christian believer dramatically distinguishes Christianity from Islam. Muslims do not experience the love of God, because the only way to experience it is by the Holy Spirit of the living God who dwells in the Christian believer: “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5: 5). Islam does not believe in the Holy Trinity. Islam believes in angels. It claims that the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad. Angels do not have the power to transform the spirit and heart of man. Only the Holy Spirit of the living God could effect this transformation and rebirth (1 Corinthians 2: 9-12), sanctify the Christian and make him Christ-like. The Holy Spirit of the living God could communicate with many people in different places at the same time. An angel can communicate with only one person at a time. The God of the Holy Bible is a personal God who is inexpressibly near humanity. He does not need intermediaries between himself and his creation. He is “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4: 6). "Jesus answered and said to him: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14: 23).
The god of Islam may visit his creation. The Biblical God, though transcendent, indwells his believing creation through his Holy Spirit. The Biblical God has established a covenant with his believing people (Genesis 17: 7-8; Exodus 6: 7; 19: 5; 24: 8; Matthew 26: 27-29). The god of Islam has not established a covenant with Muslims. He is capricious, changes his word, and could not be trusted.
VI. GOD AND SINNERS
The Islamic god leads aright whom he wills, and leads astray whom he wills. He has sealed up some people’s minds to the truth. While some Muslim apologists claim that Islamic teachings leave room for human freedom of choice, they choose to ignore clear statements to the contrary in the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Muslim creeds:
“. . . Would you guide those whom god has led astray? He whom god leads astray, you cannot guide” (al-Nisa’ 4:88, 119, 142-143); “The hypocrites seek to deceive god, but it is he who deceives them. . .” (al-Nisa’ 4: 142); “. . . God leads astray whom he wills, and guides to the right path whom he pleases” (al-An’am 6: 39); “And whomsoever god wants to guide, he opens his bosom to Islam. And whomsoever he wants to lead astray, he makes his bosom small and narrow as if he were climbing up to the sky. . .” (al-An’am 6: 125, 107, 111, 35, 39; Yunus 10: 25); “None can guide those whom god leads astray. . .” (al-A’raf 7: 186, 178-179); “. . . god leads astray whom he wills, and guides whom he wills. . .” (Ibrahim 14: 4; an-Nahl 16: 37, 93; al-Rum 30: 29; al-Fatir 35: 8; az-Zumar 39: 36-37; al-Mu’min 40: 33-34, 10; ash-Shura 42: 44-46; al-Muddathther 74: 31, 55, 56; ad-Dahr 76: 29-31; al-Shams 91: 7, 8).
Leading people astray is the work of Satan (an-Nisa’ 4: 60). It is ironic that the Islamic god participates in the work of Satan? If the Islamic god wants to destroy a village, he commands its elite to commit grave sins. After that, he punishes them for obeying his command (al-Isra’ 17: 16). By destroying the entire village, he does injustice to its poor who did not do evil. The Islamic god is arbitrary in granting forgiveness (al-Baqarah 2: 284).
It appears that one of the goals of the Islamic god is to fill hell, which is an extremely negative destructive attitude: “And if we had so willed, we could have given every soul its guidance. But my word shall be fulfilled: ‘I will surely fill hell with jinn and humans together’” (al-Sajdah 32: 13; Hud 11: 118-119; al-A’raf 7: 179). This reveals that the Islamic god has a hateful vengeful nature.
The concept of the Islamic god’s love for the sinner and the ungodly is totally missing from the Qur’an. In fact, the Islamic god hates sinners: “Say: ‘Obey god and the apostle.’ If they pay no heed, then surly, god does not love the unbelievers” (Al-‘Imran 3: 32; al-Hajj 22: 38; ar-Rum 30: 45); “. . . god does not love the impious and guilty” (al-Baqarah 2: 276); “. . . God does not love evildoers” (Al-‘Imran 3: 140, 57; al-Baqarah 2: 190; al-Nisa’ 4: 107, 148, 168-169; al-Ma’idah 5: 64, 86; al-A’raf 7: 55; al-Qasas 28: 77; ash-Shura 42: 40; etc.). “…God does not love arrogant and boastful men” (al-Nisa’ 4: 36; an-Nahl 16: 23; Luqman 31: 18; al-Hadid 57: 23); “…He does not love the prodigal” (al-An’am 6: 141; al-A’raf 7: 31); “…God does not love the treacherous” (al-Anfal 8: 58). If a Muslim leaves Islam, the Islamic god will simply replace him with others: “Believers, if any among you renounces the faith, god will replace them by others. . . ” (al-Ma’idah 5: 54, 49); “If you reject god, he does not need you. . . ” (az-Zumar 39: 7). He will not seek to bring him back. The Islamic god does not provide atonement for forgiveness of sins.
The Islamic god loves only the doers of good: “. . . God loves the doers of good” (al-Baqarah 2: 195, 222; al-Ma’idah 5: 42), and those who trust him: “. . . God loves those who place their trust in Him” (Al-‘Imran 3: 159, 31). However, the only way to be assured of the Islamic god’s love and favor is to fight for him in Islamic Jihad: “Truly god loves those who fight in his Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid structure” (as-Saff 61: 4). In fact, that was what Muhammad did. He led 27 raids or battles against those who refused Islam, and sent his armies on 47 more without him. This reduces the Islamic god to a contingent being whose love is no greater than the love displayed by imperfect sinners who only love those who love them and do good to them.
On the contrary, Christ, the good shepherd, who loves his sheep, goes out to search, find and rescue the one lost sheep that wandered astray from him. Every person is important in his sight. Christ has taught saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. . .” (Luke 15: 4-10).
The Biblical God loves his creation. He loves both the godly and the ungodly. He said: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget. Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands …” (Isaiah 49: 15, 16); “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16; 1 John 4: 10). He can create love out of hate, and praise out of blasphemy. He can transform his enemies into dedicated followers (Acts 9: 3-18; 1 Timothy 1: 12-17), for it is said: “Great is he who can conquer his enemies but greater is he who can gain them.” He does not lead anyone astray, and does not cause anyone to sin and break his commandments: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1: 13-15).
The Biblical God is holy and just. His holiness elicits divine anger at sin. He hates sin and wickedness: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. Nor shall evil dwell with You” (Psalm 5: 4; Habakkuk 1: 13); “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1: 18). But, he loves all sinners and wants them to come to faith and repentance. He eagerly awaits their return to him. He does not want to destroy them. He wants to heal and restore them: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16); “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8); “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 3-4; Psalm 86: 15; Matthew 5: 43-46; 2 Peter 3: 9; Ephesians 2: 4; Jeremiah 31: 3). God is saddened when a sinner perishes: “. . . As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. . .” (Ezekiel 33: 11; 18: 23, 32; Luke 15: 2-32).
The only way out for the fallen state of human nature into a new life of spiritual renewal and regeneration is through a working penitent faith in Jesus Christ that includes accepting his free gift of atonement for salvation. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14: 6; Acts 4: 12). The purpose of atonement and salvation is not only the forgiveness of sins (Romans 3: 24-25; 6: 23) in order to avoid the torment of hell, but also to glorify God and participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4) as his adopted children to enjoy his eternal uncreated light and love. Christianity teaches that forgiveness is the healing of a broken relationship between God in Christ and the penitent sinner. It is a costly forgiveness that requires the atonement of Christ on the cross. Both the Holy Spirit of the living God and Jesus Christ intercede and mediate before the throne of God the Father on behalf of the true Christian believers that they may be forgiven, accepted in the heavenly places and mature spiritually (Romans 8: 26, 27, 34; 1 Timothy 2: 5, 6; Hebrews 7: 25; 9: 24; 1 John: 2: 1).
Because Jesus Christ died in our behalf on the cross absorbing the infinite wrath of our all-holy God against sin, Christians no longer fear the prospect of standing before God’s throne. Christ Jesus, God’s eternal Son—crucified, risen, and reigning, is the sole and sufficient savior for all believing persons everywhere at all times. Our close loving fellowship with God in Christ who intercedes in our behalf before the divine throne gives us assurance and extinguishes fear and anxiety (Romans 8: 34; 1 Timothy 2: 3-6; Hebrews 7: 24-25; 1 John 2: 1-2). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3: 36, 16; 5: 24; 14: 1-3; 1: 10-13); “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4: 18, 19; 5: 9-12; Luke 12: 32; Hebrews 7: 25; 1 Thessalonians 5: 9-10). He is God with us and God for us for all eternity. Christ has assured Christians of peace saying: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27). “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5: 1; 8: 1).
Contrary to that, a Muslim lives in fear and insecurity (al-Mu’minun 23: 60) and lacks assurance when facing death. The Islamic god is characterized as the best schemer (Al-‘Imran 3: 54; al-A’raf 7: 99; al-Anfal 8: 30; Yunus 10: 21). He is arbitrary in granting forgiveness (al-Ma’idah 5: 18). Therefore, he could not be trusted (al-Isra’ 17: 57; al-Qasas 28: 67; at-Tahrim 66: 8; etc.). The Muslim cannot rest in the promise of a faithful God who assures him that nothing will separate him from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8: 35). Muhammad himself expressed doubt about whether he would be accepted by his god when he said: “…nor do I know what will be done with me or with you…” (al-Ahqaf 46: 9; Bukhari 5.58.266; 2.23.334; 9.87.145). In fact, Muhammad asked Muslims to pray for his salvation (al-Ahzab 33: 43, 56). In the five daily Islamic prayers, one of the concluding prayers is often, “O god! Have mercy on Muhammad and on his descendants, as you had mercy on Abraham and on his descendants.”
If the prophet of Islam was uncertain and insecure about his salvation, how much more the average Muslim would be? Omar ibn-el-Khattab, one of the early guided caliphs, said before his death: “. . . Had I the whole East and West, gladly would I give up all to be delivered from this awful terror that is hanging over me” (Cited in Jens Christensen, The Practical Approach to Muslims, London: North Africa Mission, 1977, p. 380). Abu Bakr went through the same anguish on his deathbed. Amr bin al-As wept in his deathbed worrying about his eternal destiny. In fact, according to the Islamic teachings, except for the Islamic martyrs who die fighting for Islam in jihad (at-Tawbah 9: 111; as-Saff 61: 4, 10-13), all Muslims will spend time in hell (Maryam 19: 71). Hell is a horrible prospect indeed. But the fire of the hell of guilt in this life because of a lack of assurance of forgiveness of sins in the present is not easy to suffer either. This proves the common saying that “Islam is as arid as the deserts of its birth.” The final message of Islam is not a message of salvation and new life, but of hopelessness.
The Holy Bible does not emphasize suffering in hell. It barely mentions it. However, the Qur’an, which is comparable in size to the New Testament (Injil, etc.), mentions the word “hell” ninety-seven times. In addition, it describes hell without specifically using the term “hell” many more times. Scholars estimate that the Qur’an mentions the threat of hell, on average, every 7.9 verses (783 verses out of 6151 total verses).
VII. MORAL STANDARDS
A. Contradictory moral standards
Muhammad was a lustful womanizer who practiced polygamy. He had thirteen wives, in addition to concubines, slaves, war captives, and devout Muslim women who gave themselves to him (al-Ahzab 33: 50). He committed incest by marrying his daughter-in-law Zaynab bint Jahsh after his adopted son Zaid divorced her (al-Ahzab 33: 37). He sexually abused a child girl under the pretext of marriage by marrying Aisha bint Abu-Bakr when she was six years old, and then consummating the marriage when she was only a nine-year-old prepubescent child.
Muhammad was responsible for the first Islamic massacre in the long bloody history of Islam—the massacre of the tribe of Banu Qurayza, the last Jewish tribe in Medina, in 627 AD. All the men of the tribe (800-900 men) were beheaded in cold blood (Bukhari 4.52.280). Its wealth was looted. Its women and children were sold into slavery. Muhammad urged his Muslim followers to kill his critics for him in order to silence them, and praised them for doing it afterwards. This led to the assassination of Asma’ bint Marawan while she was nursing her baby home (A. Guilaune, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 675-676), 120-year-old Abu Afak (Ibn-Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, Trans. S. Moinul, p. 31), Kaab ibn al-Ashraf (Bukhari 5.59.369; Muslim 19.4436), Abu Rafi Salaam (Bukhari 5.59.371; 4.52.264), etc. They were killed for telling the awful truth about Muhammad. On his deathbed, Muhammad instructed his followers to cleanse the Arabian peninsula of all non-Muslims (Bukhari 4.52.288). Omar ibn el-Khattab, the second guided caliph, carried out this instruction.
Muhammad taught that women are inferior to men (al-Nisa’ 4: 34). A woman inherits only half of her brother’s inheritance. The testimony of a woman in court is equivalent to the testimony of half a man (al-Baqarah 2: 282). He taught wife beating (al-Nisa’ 4: 34); breast feeding adults; temporary marriage; polygamy (al-Nisa’ 4: 3); and sexual abuse of child-girls.
Muhammad also taught the gruesome punishments of stoning, limb amputation, and flogging for fornication and theft; the killing and enslaving of non-Muslim children (Muslim 19.4321-4323); the killing and subjugation of non-Muslims (al-Tawbah 9: 5, 29; Muhammad 47: 4; etc.) in order to spread Islam by offensive war (Jihad); lying if a threat is perceived to a Muslim or to Islam to further the cause of Islam; fictitious carnal lustful Islamic paradise of sexual promiscuity and gluttony (al-Tur 52: 17-24); etc. In addition, Muhammad taught the killing of the apostates (Muslims who renounce Islam). This is a violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that each individual has the full right to change his faith or to relinquish it; etc. Muhammad preached immoral values that brought out the most violent, greedy and evil aspects of the fallen human nature.
The list of the immoralities and atrocities Muhammad committed and taught grows long. This calls to question the character of the Islamic god who approved those crimes and teachings. The god of Islam appears to sanctify all kinds of evil, such as looting, assassination, genocide, and rape of war captives even if they were married before their capture (an-Nisa’ 4: 24; al-Ahzab 33: 50). The god of Islam encouraged Muhammad to break his oaths (at-Tahrim 66: 2) and treaties (al-Anfal 8: 58) with Banu Qaynuqa, Quraysh (the treaty of Hudaybiyya), etc. (Bukhari 9.89.260). However barbarous and treacherous the means were, the end justified it in his eyes.
By contrast, the Biblical God strongly condemns these immoralities and atrocities. The Holy Bible strictly forbids breaking one’s oath (Numbers 30: 1-2), and condemns atrocities. In fact, the peaceful loving holy nature of Christ was described in prophecy as follows: “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench . . .” (Matthew 12: 20; Isaiah 42: 3). The true almighty Biblical God is so holy that “He charges His angels with error” (Job 4: 18b); “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You…” (1 Samuel 2: 2). He hates wickedness and condemns it: “For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with you” (Psalm 5: 4). He hates and condemns shedding innocent blood: “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1: 15); “But your iniquities have separated you from your God. And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Your lips have spoken lies. Your tongue has muttered perversity” (Isaiah 59: 2, 3); “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6: 16-19).
The Biblical God demands much higher moral standards than Muhammad’s works and teachings. He judges immoralities very severely. He does not call for prophecy men who commit grave sins and never repent like Muhammad. His prophets were exemplary men who strove after perfection and living holy blameless lives. Ascribing immoral teachings and false attributes to the true living God is blaspheming Him.
B. The moral development of humanity
Humanity went through phases of moral development. The biblical God sends prophets to improve the morality of humanity and advance it to a higher level. For example, in ancient times, revenge would exact two deaths for one death, five teeth for one tooth, etc. The code of Hammurabi, the emperor of Babylon (ruled 1792-1750 B.C.), required killing the thief who could not repay ten times the value of the stolen goods. God gave the prophet Moses the law that improved upon these harsh punishments by limiting it to the same level of damage: “But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21: 23-25; Leviticus 24: 17-20; Deuteronomy 19: 21). The word of the true God in the Torah does not command cutting off the hands of a thief. Rather, it commands that he should make restitution. If he cannot, he should work off his debt (sold as a slave, and released after six years (Ex. 22: 3; 21: 2; Lev. 6: 4)). The freed man should be supplied with basic resources to help him start a new life (Deuteronomy 15: 12-14). The New Testament provides a path to reform the thief. His hands should be employed in productive work, not cutoff (Eph. 4: 28).
Christ called for a higher moral standard. He taught love, mercy and forgiveness which are at a much higher angelic moral level than taking revenge: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5: 44-45); “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12: 19-21). Christianity condemns revenge at the personal level, not the principles of civil law that applies to the society at large.
One of the most impressive things about the teachings of Jesus is that he lived them. He did not make exceptions for himself the way Muhammad did. It is impossible to read his teachings about selflessness without sensing how free of pride he was himself. He practiced what he taught to give the ultimate example of love and forgiveness. At his cross, in agony and bleeding, he prayed to the heavenly Father for the forgiveness of those who crucified him: “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…” (Luke 23: 33-34).
In contrast with that, the teachings and example of Muhammad as outlined hereinabove are a step backward in human morality. It is a regression to a lower level of morality. The true living almighty God does not provide a new religion to degrade and corrupt human morality, and move it a gigantic step backward—from the Christian “love and bless your enemy” to the Islamic “hate, avenge, assassinate, kill, subjugate, rape, loot, etc.;” from the Christian monogamy to the Islamic polygamy and temporary pleasure marriages; from the Christian respect for women and children to the Islamic humiliation of women and sexual abuse of prepubescent girls; from the Christian forgiveness to the Islamic mutilation, flogging and stoning; from the Christian freedom of conscience to the Islamic oppression and forced religion; from the Christian spiritual paradise to the Islamic carnal paradise of gluttony and polygamy; from the Christian internal ethical principles instilled in the human heart to the Islamic external superficial legalism of Sharia; from the Christian honesty to the deception of Islamic taqiyya and reneging on oaths; etc.
Muhammad denied the grace and mercy that Christ has brought, and took humanity about 2000 years back to the age of law, vengeance and death. Muhammad instituted the harsh punishments of stoning, limb amputation, flogging, etc. Islam requires the amputation of the right hand and the left foot for highway theft. It decrees the amputation of the thief’s hand, even if he returns the stolen items (al-Ma’idah 5; 33, 38). The thief’s repentance is acceptable only after suffering the punishment of mutilation. Muhammad incorporated a seventh century barbaric pagan Arab custom into his Qur’an. He did not try to improve on it.
The almighty living God does not send true prophets to cause deterioration and degradation in human morality. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross to save souls giving the ultimate example of self-giving pure love. Muhammad sacrificed the souls of others in order to build a worldly empire for himself, giving the ultimate example of selfish exploitation of the other.
Muhammad and his followers fled Mecca to Medina in the year 622 (al-Hijra). In Mecca, he and his followers were a persecuted weak minority. This situation changed in Medina where he acquired political power, and his followers grew in number and military strength. A dramatic difference exists between the Qur’an he provided in Mecca and Medina. The former was characterized by conciliation, tolerance and accommodation; the latter by vengeance, oppression and self-serving revelation of convenience.
This shows very definitively that the Islamic god is changeable, indecisive and vengeful without a clear plan for the salvation and renewal of humankind. The changeable character of the Islamic god is most apparent in the Qur’anic doctrine of abrogation, where verses are cancelled out by subsequent verses: “If we abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, we will replace it with a better one or one similar. Did you not know that God has power over all things? (al-Baqarah 2: 106). One cannot trust the promises of a god who changes his mind. Just as he changes his mind about his revelation, he can also change his mind about the eternal destiny of the believer. Therefore, one cannot find assurance and security in following that kind of god.
The true living Biblical God of the Holy Bible acted with preciseness, consistency, and faithfulness throughout Biblical history, and till this day. He is unchangeable, immutable, and the same from eternity’s past to eternity’s future in his existence, being, and attributes: “I am the Lord, I do not change. . .” (Malachi 3: 6); “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11: 29); “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89: 34); “But the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1: 25); “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1: 17; Proverbs 30: 5-6; 1 Samuel 15: 29; Numbers 23: 19; Psalm 102: 27; Matthew 5: 17-18; 1 Corinthians 14: 33; Hebrews 13: 8). The divine immutability of the Biblical God’s eternal purpose of self-giving love does not mean that he is unresponsive or incapable of interaction, but that his unfailing holy love is certain and unchanging.
IX. THE CREATOR OF EVIL?
Islam teaches that its god is the origin of good and evil (al-Falaq 113: 2). He is the creator of virtue and sin in the universe and in man. He inspires debauchery in humanity. He is the author of evil, perversity and rebellion. The Islamic doctrine of absolute predestination teaches that all good and evil thoughts, words and deeds have been predetermined, decreed, willed, and created by the god of Islam from all eternity’s past, and originate from him:
“Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us. . .” (al-Tawbah 9: 51; 48: 11; at-Taghabun 64: 11); “He whom Allah guides is the one who is rightly guided, but whom he leads astray, those are the losers. We have predestined for hell many jinn and men. . .” (al-A’raf 7: 178-9, 186; Yunis 10: 99); “. . .Behold, around their necks We have put shack¬les, reaching up to their chins, so that their heads are forced up; and We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and We have enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see: thus, it is all alike to them whether you warn them or not warn them: they will not believe” (Yasin 36: 7-10); “If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together” (al-Sajdah 32: 13; al-Nisa’ 4: 142; al-Anfal 8: 30; ash-Shams 91: 7-8; Muslim 33.6406).
The Islamic doctrine of absolute predestination leads to four major problems:
1. Contradictory actions and attributes for the god of Islam. Quite a number of the attributes (beautiful names) of the Islamic god are morally antithetical, contradictory and irreconcilable (e.g. justice and mercy, maker of good and evil, love and deception, etc). Therefore, they are nullified and vacated from their significance. The Islamic god does both good and evil. He leads astray, and he guides (al-An’am 6: 39, 125; ar-Ra’d 13: 27; Ibrahim 14: 4; an-Nahl 16: 93; al-Isra’ 17: 16; al-Fatir 35: 8; al-Muddaththir 74: 31; etc.). He creates, and he destroys like Satan (al-Hadid 57: 22). He is a dualistic god who contradicts himself. This is a basic flaw in this doctrine, that leads to the conclusion that the Islamic god lives in a state of eternal conflict within his own nature, because good and evil are incompatible with one another and are in a state of constant intrinsic conflict with each other. Internal conflict is a sign of weakness and imperfection. The true living God does not have conflict within his divine nature, because he is perfect in every way. These contradictory attributes of the Islamic god are problematic in Islamic theology.
In order to solve this major difficulty, some Islamists claim that these contradictions are not in the Islamic god’s nature, but in his will. This ignores the fact that the will of a person flows from his nature and expresses it. Salty water does not flow from a fresh stream. Other Islamists try to solve this problem by making the distinction between what the Islamic god does and what he allows his creatures to do by their free choice. While this solves the problem, it contradicts and rejects the clear relevant statements of the Qur’an and the Hadith.
2. Negation of human responsibility. The difficult question that arises from that position is that if man is not endowed with free will, then he is not responsible for his actions. This means that the god of Islam is unjust in judging and punishing or rewarding him?? Orthodox Islamic theology attempts to solve this problem have produced unsatisfactory explanations. The favorite Islamic solution to this dilemma is the doctrine of acquisition (iktisab), according to which the individual acquires his foreordained actions that are willed and created by the Islamic god, by identifying himself with it in actions. This explanation is inadequate, because, according to the doctrine of predestination, the individual’s choice of his actions is predetermined (at-Takvir 81: 27-29). A man’s destiny and his character are thought to be unchangeable. There is no use in trying to change and improve him. Predestination is the pre-damnation of the lost.
According to Winston Churchill, the Islamic belief in predestination engenders “a fearful fatalistic apathy” which “paralyses the social development of those who follow it.” In fact, the human personal experience in daily life testifies to the human moral freedom. We feel free when we exercise certain acts. We judge afterwards that we acted freely. We distinguish these acts quite clearly from experiences in which we believe we were not free. This evidence from our daily life refutes the Islamic position of absolute predestination.
3. The Islamic god is the originator of evil. Islamic determinism makes the Islamic god the author and creator of evil in the universe. He wills evil. In fact, the Islamic god lies and deceives, which are signs of weakness (Al-‘Imran 3: 54; an-Nisa’ 4: 157; al-A’raf 7: 16; al-Anfal 8: 30, 43; Yunus 10: 21; Maryam 19: 26; an-Naml 27: 50-51; Saba’ 34: 12-14; ash-Shams 91: 7-10). By associating the Islamic god with looting, genocide and rape of war captives, Muhammad lowered the moral standards of his followers, and sanctified evil (al-Anfal 8: 69; al-Fath 48: 20; etc).
In contrast with the hundreds of references to the holiness of the biblical God in the Holy Bible, the Qur’an refers to the holiness of the Islamic god only twice (al-Hashr 59: 23; al-Jumu’ah 62: 1). These references are interpreted as “blessed” or “glorified.” It is obvious that the Islamic god is not holy, because there is evil in his very nature?
The Holy Bible calls the people of God “saints,” meaning holy ones dedicated and committed to serve God. On the contrary, the believers in Islam are called “Muslims,” meaning “submitters.” The concept of submission emphasizes the otherness of the Islamic god. However, the concept of “holiness” emphasizes God’s identification with his human creatures. "... You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" (Leviticus 19: 2). "As He (God) who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" (1 Peter 1: 15).
4. The sole universal agent. Extreme Islamic determinism led some Muslim scholars to conclude that the Islamic god is the only one who does anything in the universe. He is the only active agent, while all others are passive. He wills and creates belief and unbelief, obedience and rebellion. Both good and evil are the result of his decree. In fact, the Muslim creed of “There is no god but god” could be rephrased into “There is no one who acts but god.” This leads to that “No one has being but god.” The most heinous acts could be rationalized as the Islamic god’s will, which is a prescription of social chaos.
The true living Biblical God is totally and absolutely perfect in every way, “He is the Rock. His work is perfect. For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice. Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32: 4; Matthew 5: 48). Evil is failure and imperfection. Therefore, evil does not originate from him. He is omnipotent. He is capable of doing all things that are consistent with his divine character. He wills to do only the things that do not contradict his divine nature (Genesis 18: 14; Job 42: 2; Psalm 5: 4, 6; 92: 15; 115: 3; Jeremiah 32: 17, 27; Daniel 4: 35; Matthew 19: 26; Luke 1: 37).
The Biblical God is perfect in goodness. There is no bound to his goodness (Psalm 31: 19). Holiness is the fullness of his moral excellence intrinsic to his divine nature. The Biblical God has not created or willed evil in the universe, because he does not do what is repugnant to his all-holy divine nature, nor does he force virtue. "Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity" (Job 34: 10b). “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness ...” (Habakkuk 1: 13). He will neither lie, nor break a promise: “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips” (Psalm 89: 34); “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has he spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23: 19; 1 Samuel 15: 29; Titus 1: 2; Hebrews 6: 18). He will not be faithless: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2: 13). He is true to himself: “. . . God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1: 5; Psalm 92: 15; John 7: 18; Job 34: 10); “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7: 18); “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (James 3: 11-12; 1: 13). He loves goodness and hates and judges evil: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You” (Psalm 5: 4-6; 52: 1; 100: 5; 101: 3). After he completed his creation, he “saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. . .” (Genesis 1: 31; James 1: 17). The Biblical God is completely consistent and trustworthy.
Evil is not eternal because it does not originate from the divine nature of the Biblical God. Evil has been introduced into the created world by Satan (Isaiah 14: 2-17; Ezekiel 28: 11-17; 1 Timothy 3: 6) and man (Genesis 3) exercising their free wills. The only reason for man’s damnation is his own rebellious impenitent will. The Biblical God permits evil because he respects the free will he has granted his creatures. However, he would not permit evil at all unless he could draw greater good out of it—all to his glory. He produces good out of the evil of Satan and man. Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50: 20; Isaiah 55: 8-9). “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8: 28). Even when we oppose God, we can only in the long run serve his purposes. This is very clear from the events leading to Jesus death on the cross. The injustices, apostasy, and crimes done against Jesus became precisely the means by which God brings salvation to humanity (Hebrews 12: 2). Nothing that creatures can will can put a final obstacle in the way of the accomplishment of the eternal divine purpose.
God granted man free will to make moral choices. Like other mental powers, man’s free will is strengthened by exercise. Yielding to impulse, intemperance and temptation weakens man’s will, diminishes his moral freedom, and makes him sink into slavery. Though his ability to resist temptation is lessened, he continues to be responsible for his conduct. On the other hand, the more frequently a man restrains his immoral inclinations and consistently aims at a virtuous life, the more is his will strengthened, and the more does he increase in moral liberty, the noblest attribute of man.
The Biblical God is omniscient. He knows everything. His knowledge is infinite (Psalm 147: 5) and complete (Job 37: 16; Acts 15: 18; 1 John 3: 20; Psalm 139: 1-6; Isaiah 46: 9-10). He knows the causes of our actions, and can predict infallibly our course of action. However, his perfect foreknowledge does not compel us to make certain choices of action. His foreknowledge about human choices is exact and inerrant, but it does not determine it. Therefore, the perfect foreknowledge of the Biblical God does not eliminate the free will of man. The freedom of man and all creatures is relative and created. Therefore, it is dependent on him who created it, and does not compromise his reign. Human willing in this age is able to resist the will of God only temporarily, though never ultimately. It could not overrule God’s purposes. "There are many plans in a man’s heart. Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand" (Proverbs 19: 21). Through providence, God coordinates his divine purposes with distortable acts of human freedom so as to govern fallen history without coercing the liberty of creatures. God would never allow evil to finally frustrate or overcome his good purpose in creation. Eventually, both within and beyond history, God will overrule by his grace what distortions freedom can create. The divine wisdom of the creator has provided that nothing in the created world shall mar his plan for his world (Isaiah 46: 9-10; Proverbs 19: 21).
The following account is a clear historical example that God’s infallible foreknowledge of the future does not negate man’s responsibility and accountability. God foreknew and told Abraham hundreds of years before that his descendants would be enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years. After that God would liberate them (Genesis 15: 13-14). However, this perfect foreknowledge of God did not negate the accountability of the Egyptians and the Pharaoh. God judged them for their rebellious attitude and injustice (Exodus 7-11). Another example is the betrayal of Judas. Jesus foreknew that he would betray him. However, this did not release Judas from full accountability. Jesus said: “The Son of Man (Jesus) indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26: 24).
Christ lamented over the disobedient city of Jerusalem in tears saying: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23: 37-38). God wanted to save Jerusalem from destruction. But its people were not penitent and rejected Christ. God respected their free will that refused his offer of salvation, and abandoned it. This resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, as Christ prophesied, by the Roman army in the year of 70 AD, about forty years after the ascension of Christ.
As stated before, the Biblical God is omniscient. He has complete knowledge of all things. His knowledge is infinite and perfect (Psalm 139: 1-12; Daniel 2: 20-21; Isaiah 46: 10).
Although the Qur’an states that the Islamic god is all-knowing
(al-Baqarah 2: 29; al-An’am 6: 18), in reality, he is not omniscient.
This is because the Qur’an, which Islam believes is the verbatim
word of the Islamic god, contains glaring scientific errors, historical
errors, and internal contradictions. In addition, it has linguistic problems,
including grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and foreign words. Some
of these problems are discussed in this page.
In addition, it appears that, at least sometimes, the Islamic god does not know his own will as this verse indicates: “Truly did Allah fulfill the vision of his messenger. You shall enter the sacred mosque, if god (Allah) wills?? …” (al-Fath 48: 27; al-Tawbah 9: 28; etc.).
The Biblical God alone possesses infinite perfect unchangeable power. He is omnipotent (Job 42: 2; Psalm 32: 9; 71: 9; Mark 10: 27; Luke 1: 37; Matthew 19: 26; 24: 35; etc.). He never fatigues (Psalm 121: 3-4; Isaiah 40: 28). He could do whatever he wills, but does not will all he can do. He wills only what is consistent and harmonious with his divine nature and attributes. This means that he will never do actions out of harmony and incompatible with his all-holy nature. God does not contradict himself. He never fails. Therefore, he will never commit sin. He will not deny himself.
This seeming limitation is not an instance of weakness, but an affirmation of his all-holy divine perfect might. No one can hinder the Biblical God in carrying out his purpose (Isaiah 43: 13; 46: 10b). His omnipotence is manifested in nature and history, in creation and redemption. His omnipotence is not a word in a book. An important manifestation of his omnipotence is his mighty miracles. Actions speak louder than words.
Although the Islamic god is described as omnipotent (al-Ra’d 13: 19; al-Isra’ 17: 99, 101; al-Qamar 54: 42; al-Hashr 59: 23), his omnipotence remains a theoretical possibility because he did not manifest it in miracles, as Muhammad declared in the Qur’an he could not do miracles (al-‘Ankabut 29: 50; al-Isra’ 17: 93). When people pressed him for a miracle (al-Anbiya’ 21: 5; al-Isra’ 17: 90-92), he reversed his position and claimed that the Qur’an is his miracle (al-Isra’ 17: 88; al-Baqarah 2: 23; Yunus 10: 38). This page shows why the Qur’an is not a miracle.
In fact, the god of Islam could not save Muhammad’s two sons from premature death in their infancy despite the pleas and prayers of Muhammad. As a matter of fact, when Muhammad’s most beloved sixteen-month-old son Ibrahim was on his deathbed, Muhammad prayed in tears all night long asking his Islamic god to save him. The little boy died next morning. The Islamic god could not save Muhammad from military defeat and serious injury in the battle of Uhud in 625. Although Muhammad wrongly predicted victory in this battle, the Meccan army defeated him, and he was struck in the right side of his mouth by the sword of ibn-Qami’h the leithite, lost several teeth, and almost died. The Islamic god could not warn Muhammad against eating the poisoned roasted meat after the conquest of Khaybar, which pained him so much and eventually led to his death (Bukhari 5.59.713).
XII. ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS OF ISLAMIC MONOTHEISM
In addition to the major problems of Islamic monotheism discussed herein (the unipersonal god, the uncreated Qur’an, the absolute predestination, the low moral standard, mutability, creation of evil, lack of atonement, character, etc.), two other major problems attract our attention.
A. Anarchy, and lack of definition
Because the Islamic god lacks a real nature that projects his attributes, he is arbitrary about what is right and wrong (al-Isra’ 17: 86). He does not do things because they are right, but they are right because he does them. He does not have to be merciful. He does not have to be loving, as he could hate (al-‘Imran 3: 32). This is because love and mercy do not proceed from his nature, which does not exist.
By contrast, the true living God of the Holy Bible loves all (John 3: 16), convicts all of sin (John 16: 8-9), and desires that all be saved (2 Peter 3: 9). He gives all the necessary light of guidance (Romans 1: 19-20; 2: 12-15), and accepts anyone who comes to him in penitent faith: “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10: 35; Hebrews 11: 6).
Evil cannot be attributed to the true living Biblical God because evil is imperfection. The true living God is perfect in every way. Therefore, he is good by his very nature. He does not create evil.
The Islamic god Muhammad proclaimed is distant and his nature (character) is not knowable. The basic Islamic approach is not to know its god, but only to obey him. The actions of the Islamic god do not reflect his nature. The Muslim person’s awareness of his god is an awareness of the unknown. The Islamic god is neither a person nor a spirit. This negative theology of Islam leads to agnosticism regarding the nature of its god. There are serious problems with Islamic agnosticism, some of which are discussed herein. The Islamic god is named for his actions. He is called good because he does good. This means that we can also call him evil since he causes evil, and faithless since he causes people to disbelieve, etc.
Islam teaches that because the Islamic god is transcendent, his nature (character) is not knowable. Islamists claim that there cannot be complete transcendence and self-revelation at the same time (M. Youssef, America, Oil, and the Islamic Mind, pp. 74-75). They attempt to separate the revelation of the will of the Islamic god (in the Qur’an) from the revelation of his character (S. Akhtar, A Faith for all Seasons, p. 181). However, this separation is very artificial. His will flows from his nature/character, and reflects it. Therefore, the description and definition of his will become the description of his character (nature). The very act of revelation negates the complete transcendence of the Islamic god because revelation requires entry into the created world and interaction with it, and thereby provides revelation of his character. It is obvious that the Islamic teaching is internally contradictory, because its ideal of perfect transcendence is not attained.
The Islamic belief agrees with the position of the third century philosopher Plotinus (Neo-Platonism) who held that god is a non-personal absolute one, and so utterly transcendent that his nature is not knowable except by mystical experience. He is beyond being. Since there is no similarity between being and what is beyond it, there is no similarity between god and what flows from him (his created universe).
Thomas Aquinas, the great Christian theologian of the late middle ages, refuted that position. He explained that an effect must resemble its cause, because “you cannot give what you do not have.” Hence, if God caused goodness, he must be goodness. If he caused being, he must be being. It is important to distinguish between material, instrumental and efficient causes. The efficient cause of something is what caused it to be. The instrumental cause of something is the instrument that made it. The material cause of something is its material (substance). Material and instrumental causes do not necessarily resemble their effects. Efficient causes do. The painting does not resemble the artist’s paint brush (its instrumental cause), but it resembles the artist’s mind (its efficient cause). The infinite God is not finite because he caused a finite world, since finiteness is part of the material nature of the universe (its material cause). However, everything that exists has being, and God is being.
The religious experience involves the relationship between two persons, the worshipper and his god. How can a person worship and love someone whose nature (character) he knows nothing about? How can he relate and belong to a non-relational non-personal entity? That led some Muslim sects to deify Muhammad to the point of saying that if Muhammad had not been, the Islamic god himself would not have existed, and that Muhammad is the lord of the universe. Muhammad violently opposed such idolatry (Al-‘Imran 3: 144; Muhammad 47: 19; etc.). In addition, the Shia Muslims have deified their Imams. This shows the theological bankruptcy of the Muslim view of their distant unknowable god.
In contrast with that position, Jesus has taught saying: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17: 3). “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4: 8a).
A. Not the Same God
Theoretically, if Islam and Christianity find their source in the same God, their teachings should be compatible. There are divine attributes that both Christianity and Islam acknowledge for God (some of the Islamic ninety nine beautiful names (al-Hashr 59: 22-24; al-Baqarah 2: 256; al-A’raf 7: 180; Bukhari 9.93.489; etc.). However, in reality, there are major differences and conflicts on basic doctrine between Islam on the one hand, and Christianity and Judaism on the other hand. The above discussion shows that many essential attributes of the Biblical God are very different from, and contradict, those of the Islamic god. They cannot be reconciled. It is the differences which determine whether it is the same God, or two different gods? Rejecting only one essential attribute of the Biblical God is rejecting him in his entirety, and making a different god. This leads us to arrive at the most certain conclusion that it is a theological impossibility that the living almighty God of the Holy Bible and the god of Islam are one and the same. They do not have much in common.
The Biblical God is one indivisible God distinguished in three inseparable divine persons: the Father, His Word (the Son: Jesus Christ), and His Holy Spirit. The Islamic god is a unipersonal god that cannot experience the fullness of the exceedingly rich communion, and love experienced within the Holy Trinity of the one triune God. The Biblical God is intensely relational. In fact, it has been said that Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship of love and commitment between the Christian person and God in Christ: “. . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22: 37); Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14: 15). “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4: 8).
The Islamic god is a distant detached god who is impersonal unloving and vindictive. He does not get involved in the daily life or the suffering of humanity. The god of Islam deceives, leads people astray, and teaches killing, rape, looting, breaking oath, etc. He intends to fill hell with humans and jinn. He is bloodthirsty and warmonger. He could not be trusted. The god of Islam is a projection of the evil in man and his baser drives. He is an arbitrary despot. He does not satisfy the thirst and longing of the human soul for divine love, forgiveness and salvation. In short, the god of Islam is too immoral to be divine. By contrast, the living Biblical God is a caring loving Father and a good shepherd who chastises his human children whom he loves, and desires an intimate personal relationship with. The prayer Jesus has taught Christians opens with: “Our Father in heaven . . .” (Matthew 6: 9). No devout Muslim can call the god of Islam “Father” because Islam claims that this would compromise his transcendence.
Islam contradicts Biblical revelations. The principal teachings and doctrines of Islam and Christianity are very different. Therefore, they could not originate from the same God:
1. Muhammad denied the divinity of Christ in the Qur’an, and stated that his god “begot none, nor was he begotten” (al-Ikhlas 112: 3; al-Ma’idah 5: 75, 17, 72, 116; al-Tawbah 9: 30-31; Yunis 10: 68; al-Isra’ 17: 111; al-Kahf 18: 4-5; Mary 19: 35, 88-93; al-Furqan 25: 2; al-zukhruf 43: 81-83; etc.). He also denied the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the Qur’an (al-Ma’idah 5: 73; al-Nisa’ 4: 171), and the crucifixion of Christ (an-Nisa’ 4: 157, 158). This position is strikingly similar to that of the Ebionites, a heretical Christian sect that existed in Mecca at the time of Muhammad. In fact, Waraqa ibn-Nofal, the cousin of Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife, was the Ebionite Christian bishop of Mecca.
2. The Biblical God does not forgive sins without atonement. The Islamic god does.
3. The Biblical God demands much higher moral standards than the Islamic god.
4. The paradise of the Biblical God is a state of spiritual bliss in new spiritual bodies not subject to pain, sin, death and corruption in close communion with the living God (Romans 14: 17). The paradise of the Islamic god is a carnal paradise of gluttony and promiscuity. Christianity calls these excesses grave sins. The Biblical God condemns and abhors these excesses.
5. It appears that the god of Islam behaves like a capricious tyrant who predestines people to eternal hell, and seems to amuse himself sadistically by watching them burn therein (al-Sajdah 32: 13; Hud 11: 118-119). The Islamic god is a bloody god who orders his followers to kill. He creates evil. On the contrary, the Biblical God loves his creation, including sinners, and desires to save all of them. He does not create or will evil. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 3-4; Psalm 86: 15; Matthew 5: 43-46; John 3: 16; 2 Peter 3: 9; Ephesians 2: 4).
6. The Biblical God swears by himself, since there is nothing greater than him to swear by, and it is beneath his honor and dignity to swear by his creatures, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute” (Hebrews 6: 13, 16; Jeremiah 22: 5; Isaiah 45: 23).
However, the Islamic god strangely swears by things less than him. He swears by the Qur’an (Yasin 36: 2; Sad 38: 1), by the sky and constellations (an-Najm 53: 1; al-Waqi’ah 56: 75; al-Muddathir 74: 32-34; at-Takwir 81: 15-16; al-Buruj 85: 1; at-Tariq 86: 1), by the pen (al-Qalam 68: 1), by the city (al-Balad 90: 1), by Muhammad’s life (al-Hijr 15: 72), by the moon (al-Muddaththir 74: 32; al-Inshiqaq 84: 18; ash-Shams 91: 2) by undefined creatures (as-Saffat 37: 1-4), by his creation (at-Tur 52: 1-7; al-Haqqah 69: 38-39; al-Jinn 72: 1-7; an-Nazi’at 79: 1-6; al-Inshiqaq 84: 16; al-Fajr 89: 1-4; al-Lail 92: 1-2; al-‘Adiat 100: 1-5) etc. The god of Islam swore on these things from all eternity, since Islam claims that the Qur’an is eternal. This means that the god of Islam made every created thing, including Satan and the moon, his partner in eternity, thereby committing shirk, the gravest sin in Islam. Muhammad contradicted that by prohibiting swearing by other than the god of Islam (Bukhari 5.58.177). However, he swore by other than the Islamic god, which was a common occult practice of seventh century Arabia (al-Fajr 89: 5; etc.). In addition, the Qur'an does not provide replies to several of its oaths (Sad 38: 1-2; Qaf 50: 1-2; al-Fajr 89: 1-4; etc.).
Many oaths of the Qur’an and Muhammad adopt and emphasize the pagan astral religions of seventh century Arabia, because it swears by the night (al-Inshiqaq 84: 17; ad-Duha 93: 2), the sun (ash-Shams 91: 1), the sunrise (at-Takwir 81: 18; al-Fajr 89: 1; ad-Duha 93: 1), the sunset (at-Takwir 81: 17; al-Inshiqaq 84: 16), the moon, the stars, the constellations, etc.
7. The astral pagan religion of Quraysh had saturated Muhammad’s life till age forty. For two thirds of his life he was a thoroughgoing pagan who worshipped and sacrificed to pagan idols on a regular basis. In fact, the early Meccan Suras of the Qur’an contained astral paganism as evidenced by their titles, let alone their content (e.g. al-Isra’ 17; Ya-sin (the moon god Sin) 36; al-Najm 53; al-Qamar 54; al-Jinn 72; etc.).
8. The God of the Holy Bible never commanded or supported a war to spread faith in Him. The god of Islam is very different in this respect. He instituted the doctrine of the Islamic holy war (jihad), and made it a duty incumbent upon every Muslim to spread his faith by force of arms, and conquer the world for Islam.
9. The source of the Holy Bible and the Qur’an could not be one and the same because of the many contradictions between them. The true living God is perfect. He does not contradict himself.
The list of profound differences and contradictions between the principal teachings and doctrines of Christianity and Islam grows long?
This establishes beyond doubt the fact that these conflicting teachings, doctrines and attributes of the Islamic god and the Biblical God define two different gods. This means that Muhammad's claim to the contrary in Sura al-‘ankabut 29: 46 and al-Baqarah 2: 139 is false. The characters of the Biblical God and the Islamic god are dramatically different.
Therefore, it is obvious that the call of Muhammad to prophethood and his teachings did not originate from the true living almighty Biblical God.
B. The True Living God
The Biblical God is the true living God because he has manifested himself throughout many centuries of history with both powerful miracles and powers, and consistent harmonious continual revelations. The Almighty Biblical God meets us not just in our inner thoughts, but also in history demonstrating his divine presence and power through miraculous events (Deuteronomy 11: 1-4; Amos 1: 1-5). He is not a word in a book. He is not reasonable philosophical arguments. He is not a reasonable philosophical speculation. He is a living wise almighty personal power manifested in powerful actions. He is infinite positivity that has provided revelations since the dawn of human history. He is light. He is life. He is alive. He is infinite divine love.
The following historical account shows how the powerful supernatural miracles of the living almighty Biblical God distinguish him from the false pagan gods. In the reign of king Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel (874-853 B.C.), the Israelites apostatized after pagan gods called the Baal and Asherah (Baal’s consort), and left the living God of their ancestors. Baal was the principal god of the Canaanite pagan religion, which used ritual prostitution in its cultic worship practices believing that it may achieve the fertility of the land. The Baal both owned and fertilized the land. Consequently, the Lord God withheld both dew and rain from the Land three years and six months (1 Kings 17: 1; 18: 18; Luke 4: 25; James 5: 17). “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24a). The Lord God worked out a great supernatural miracle through his prophet Elijah to restore the Israelites back to him.
“Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, O troubler of Israel?’ And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.’ So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’ So all the people answered and said, ‘It is well spoken.’
Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.’ So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!’ But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, ‘Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Israel shall be your name.’ Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, ‘Fill four water pots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.’ Then he said, ‘Do it a second time,’ and they did it a second time; and he said, ‘Do it a third time,’ and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’ And Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!’ So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there” (1 Kings 18: 17-40).
Mount Carmel is an 1,800 feet high mountain ridge jutting into the Mediterranean Sea below the bay of Haifa. Places of worship to Baal were located on Mount Carmel. The prophet Elijah defeated the Baal in its own territory by the power of the Almighty God.
Elijah ordered 12 jars of water be poured out to soak the wood of the stone altar that he built, wet the ground around it, and fill the trench around it with water in order to leave no doubt about the truth and power of the miracle about to happen. The 450 prophets of the Baal had kept up their rituals for the good part of the day, and ended up with dead silence from the false god who could not answer. Elijah’s prayer lasted only less than a minute, but produced a powerful visible response from the true and only living God. This convinced the Israelites of the one true God. After their repentance and return to the Lord God, He sent lots of rain on their thirsty drought stricken land (1 Kings 18: 41-46). At the end, Elijah commanded that the prophets of the Baal be seized and executed for their wicked crimes against man and God.
The Islamic god of Muhammad clearly fails two crucial key tests of power: the test of centuries of consistent harmonious continual revelation since the dawn of human history, and the test of powerful visible miracles to validate this revelation. The Baal god and all pagan gods have failed these tests throughout the history of humankind.
The sword of Islam was broken in many battles in history beginning with the battle of Uhud where Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was injured. Because the god of Islam ordered offensive military jihad to spread Islam, defeats of Islamic armies in the battlefield amount to his personal defeats. The unipersonal Islamic god of Muhammad is incapable of doing a miracle (al-‘Ankabut 29: 46; al-Isra’ 17: 93). Therefore, he is a mere theoretical fictitious entity buried and glorified in the book of Muhammad (the Qur’an) and in his imagination, but has never existed in reality. He is an impotent desert mirage animated only by the sword of Muhammad and his followers after him till this day. He has needed their swords to defend him. If not for that, Islam will not exist today on the face of the earth. All manmade ideas of God are idolatry.
When they came to arrest Jesus in the garden, the following took place: “And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26: 51-54). The true living almighty God does not need human armies to defend him.
Some western scholars believe that Allah was the Supreme Deity of pagan Arabia. The heathen Meccan high god was the god Muhammad proclaimed as the one god of Islam (al-Nisa’ 4: 125; al-‘Ankabut 29: 61-63; Luqman 31: 25). This does not make it the true living Biblical God of the Holy Bible. All Muhammad did was to rid this heathen god of its 360 lesser companions whom the pagan Arabs worshipped as well (al-An’am 6: 148). In abolishing the daughters and sons of the Meccan Allah, Muhammad committed a fatal error. He failed to distinguish the wholly different meaning of the spiritual Sonship of Christ to the living God the Father.
Based on archeological and epigraphic studies, some western scholars speculate that the Islamic god of Muhammad was the pagan moon god of Arabia of his time. The god of Islam retains the symbols and character of the pagan moon god. They are able to trace the origins of the Islamic god all the way back to the very ancient civilization of Mesopotamia more than three thousand years before Muhammad. The roots of the Islamic god may be found in ancient Middle Eastern mythology. According to their studies, the Islamic god is the latest development of a series of astral and atmospheric pagan gods in the ancient Semitic world.
One important evidence is the fixation of Islam with the crescent moon symbol. This was the ancient symbol that represented the moon god in the Middle East. The cult of the moon god was wide-spread in the Middle East and was very strong in Arabia in antiquity. This Islamic symbol goes back to 75 AH (696 AD) where it was used on Islamic coins (R. Ettinghausen, Encyclopedia of Islam, eds. B. Lewis, V. L. Menage, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, op. cit., p. 381). Mosques are adorned with the crescent moon atop their minarets, the highest places in the mosques. So are the flags of many Muslim nations. It is the same symbol found in the ancient temples of the moon god and in ancient tombs. The moon god was the chief of the 360 gods worshipped in the Kaaba in Mecca. It was a national god of war. Pagan Arabs worshipped a pagan god associated with the moon, not the moon itself, which the Qur’an prohibits (al-Hajj 22: 18; Fussilat 41: 37). They believed that the moon was created, and served as a symbol for the moon-god, and was sometimes said to be its throne, boat or scimitar. They used the crescent moon as a symbol pointing to their chief deity, the moon god. Muslims practice the same worship rituals pagan Arabs offered to the moon god, including giving alms to the poor, sacrificing sheep, fasting a month that began and ended with the crescent moon, etc.
The Islamic calendar is the lunar calendar of the moon god. Islamic jurists consider watching for the silver of the crescent moon to be an act of worship. The Qur’an states that the god of Islam created the moon and its phases for man to know the number of years (Yunus 10: 5). This is a primitive pagan Arabian belief, because all advanced civilizations of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans used calendars based on the solar year. The lunar year is only 354 days long. That is why no Islamic religious festival occurs at the same time or season each solar year. The Meccans had a soli-lunar calendar where a thirteenth month (the ‘epact’ period) was added every three years in order to harmonize the solar and lunar calendars to keep it in sync with the seasons and solar equinoxes. Muhammad ended this Meccan intercalation (at-Tawbah 9: 36-37) at his farewell pilgrimage just before his death. The purely lunar calendar that Muhammad instituted for Islam ignores the sun, and thus does not track the seasons. The dates that Muslims and the moon god worshippers celebrate occur approximately when the crescent moon appears in the sky, irrespective of seasons. The fasting month of Ramadan starts and ends with the crescent moons.
Pagan Arabs used to make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba, the central temple of the moon god. Till this day, Muslims perform all the pagan rituals of the ancient moon god pilgrimage (e.g. kissing the black stone, running around the Kaaba seven times, throwing stones at the devil, etc.). The Islamic calendar is the lunar calendar of the moon god. The word Allah is derived from the name of the moon god in Arabic. That is why Muhammad never defined the Islamic god in the Qur’an because the entire pagan Arabs of his day knew him. What Muhammad wanted to introduce was to make him the only god in Arabia. The Islamic god is the latest manifestation of idolatry. It is as pagan as the Semitic Baal and the ancient Greek Zeus gods.
On the other hand, he may actually be the devil masquerading as god, because many of his attributes, such as deceiver, schemer (Al-‘Imran 3: 54; al-A’raf 7: 99; etc.), murderer, creator of evil and immoralities, etc., perfectly fit Satan. “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11: 14). In fact, Satan has claimed that he is in the place of God: "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14: 14). The Hadith shows Muhammad hated the cross of Christ so much that he wished to break it (Bukhari 3.34.425; 3.43.656; 4.55.657; Abu Dawood 32.4310; etc.). Likewise, Satan hates the cross of Christ because it offers the only acceptable atonement to save man from eternal damnation. In fact, the Qur’an indicates in al-Ma’idah 5: 17 that the god of Islam may want to destroy Christ. The only one who wants to do that is Satan himself. He tried to do it but failed in the first advent of Christ. In addition, we notice that in tempting Jesus in the wilderness, Satan challenged his status as the incarnate Son of God (Matthew 4: 3, 6). In the Qur’an (al-Ma’idah 5: 75, 17, 72, 116; al-Tawbah 9: 30-31; etc.), Muhammad also challenged this status. By doing so, he expressed the thought of Satan!
Shedding innocent blood, looting, raping, making slaves of non-Muslims and other atrocities are the works of Satan. The Holy Bible describes Satan as follows: “…He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8: 44); “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12: 9). Satan and the false prophet will be tormented in hell for ever: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20: 10).
“Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god …” (Psalm 16: 4). The only way for a Muslim person to be free from idolatry is to leave Islam and its fabricated god, and turn to the only uncreated creator Biblical triune God of the Holy Bible, who stated repeatedly that he will not share his glory with other gods: “I am the Lord, that is my name. And my glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 42: 8).
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XIV. Selected Bibliography
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Akhtar, Shabbir. A Faith for all Seasons. Ivan R. Dee. 1991
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Cragg, Kenneth. The Call of the Minaret. 3rd ed. Oxford, UK.: Oneworld Publications, 2000
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Gilchrist, John. The Temple, The Ka’aba, and the Christ. Jesus to the Muslims,1989.
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Ibn-Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, Trans. S. Moinul
B. Lewis, V. L. Menage, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, eds. Encyclopedia of Islam.
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Sidway, Ralph H. Facing Islam. 3rd ed. Louisville, KY.: Kalyve of Blessed Seraphim Press, 2010.
Youssef, Michael. America, Oil, and the Islamic Mind. Zondervan, 1991.